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Wildlife Tours  

When you book your accommodation at Alert Bay Lodge please enquire about the four wildlife tours we help coordinate for local tour operators. These operators live, work and employ staff in the North Vancouver Island region and their tours will most certainly enhance your stay in Alert Bay. We have partnered with them for years and happily vouch for their professionalism, reliability and outstanding results. If you'd like us to book any of these tours for you, please email us at

1. Telegraph Cove Day Trip & Wildlife Excursion

Please contact us for current rates. We include:

  • A transfer from Alert Bay Lodge to the ferry terminal.
  • A taxi ride from Port McNeill to Telegraph Cove.
  • A 3.5 hour wildlife watching tour or a 4 hour kayak tour.
  • An exciting motor boat crossing back to Alert Bay.

Nestled between ocean and rainforest in the northern Vancouver Island wilderness, Telegraph Cove (pop. 20) was the northern terminus of a telegraph line that began in Campbell River and stretched from tree to tree along Vancouver Island's east coast. This largely boardwalked community recalls a rustic past that included a lumber mill and salmon saltery. During the summer it’s a also a hub for  outdoor activities including whale watching, bear viewing, fishing, ocean kayaking, and diving.

On this eight hour self-guided excursion, you depart Alert Bay on Cormorant Island and head to Telegraph Cove on Vancouver Island. A taxi will be waiting at the Port McNeill ferry terminal, ready to escort you for a 30 minute drive though the forest to the end of the Telegraph Cove Road. You arrive at Telegraph Cove by about 11:00 am.

Your covered boat or kayak tour starts at 1:00 pm. leaving plenty of time to stroll along the boardwalk, admire the historic buildings and perhaps visit the local pub. We also recommend visiting the displays at the Whale Interpretative Centre that highlight the biology, habitat needs and threats to orcas and other local marine mammals. Admission is by donation.

You arrive back in Telegraph Cove by 5:00 pm, ready to hook up with our escorted boat to back to Alert Bay.

Covered Boat or Kayak – Which one is for you?

The covered boat tour is provided by Stubbs Whale Watching. Their 60’ tour boat cruises the calm, protected waters of Johnstone Strait and the Blackfish Archipelago on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island. This area is acknowledged as the most accessible and predictable location to see Orca (killer whales) in the world. Although Stubbs has a success rate of over 90% in viewing orcas, no one can guarantee sightings as these are wild animals in their natural habitat.

The kayak tour with North Island Kayak provides an opportunity to get up close and personal with our ocean environment. It is suitable for, and enables just about anyone to spend almost four hours enjoying the unparalleled scenery and wildlife of the area around Telegraph Cove. All kayak gear is included and no previous experience is required. We also take along a hydrophones which enables us to hear the whales as well as see them!

Aside from orcas, other marine life you have a chance on spotting on either tour includes Dall’s porpoises, harbour porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins, sea lions, seals, Minke whales, humpback whales and grey whales are some of the marine mammals we may see during our nature cruises. For bird watchers, we have many migrating bird species in the Pacific Flyway including rhinoceros auklets, pigeon guillemots, harlequin ducks, sooty shearwaters and bald eagles.


2. Grizzly Bear Tour. Tide Rip Tours picks up at 6:50 am in Alert Bay at a wharf nearby to Alert Bay Lodge. This price includes pick up and drop off in Alert Bay, as opposed to taking the ferry and then travelling by vehicle to Telegraph Cove to meet the tour boat. The tour heads to Knight Inlet, returning to Alert Bay by 4:00 pm. Lunch is included. Take a look at a video taken by one of our guests.

3. Cultural and Fishing Tours starting at $500. If it's authenticity you're after, we can organize you to fish for salmon or halibut or tour the island's ancient villages in the company of an experienced First Nation skipper and guide. A full day tour (12-14 hours) costs $700 and a half-day (6 hours) is $500. Prices include fishing gear and lunch. 40' former trawler with an onboard washroom. Eight person capacity. If a high speed boat with all the latest gear is more to your liking, we can organize that as well.

4. Kayaking. For multi-day tours, we recommend the services of Vancouver Island Kayak. This company offers a wide selection of kayak tours of Vancouver Island and has a particularly good selection multi-day kayak trips of Johnstone Strait. Leave your car and luggage at Alert Bay Lodge and we'll have the water taxi whisk you away into the wilderness! Call 1.800.255.5057.